My Top 5 Parenting Tips

With each day that passes, I choose to hope and believe that we move another day closer to our second adoption placement. It is an exciting and also terrifying thought. While I am much more confident in my ability to mother a small baby and I feel I’m much better prepared this time around, I find myself thinking back (a lot) to when Ava was first placed with us. It all happened so fast that there was no time to really prepare or research anything. No anti natal classes, no tips from fellow mom’s on the how to’s of being a new mommy.

I made a lot of mistakes the first time around but with experience and perspective I hope I won’t make the same mistakes the second time around.

Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. I’m going to *try* and stress less during the first few weeks. I was frantic during Ava’s first two months of life. She was restless and anxious and suffered with colic. It was only when my friend, and the editor of Your Pregnancy & Your Baby mags told me that I should think of the first 3 months post birth as the 4th trimester of pregnancy that I was able to understand that a lot of what we were experiencing was my baby’s adjustment to the world outside the womb.
  2. While on the subject of a baby’s first 3 months being like the 4th trimester of pregnancy, I will do more to try and mimic the womb environment for our next baby. I saw a huge change in Ava when I started using a baby wrap, she was calmer, soothed easier and slept longer when I practiced “baby wearing” and it’s definitley something I’ll be doing again.
  3. Routine! Routine! Routine! Both my husband & I are have very Type A personalities. We thrive on routine, we like to know what is planned and for when, we like to be organized and we like to work according to a schedule. It came as no surprise to me that Ava was very routine orientated right from the very beginning. Because she was formula fed (don’t tell the Breast Feeding Nazi’s) she went straight from birth into a 4 hourly feeding, sleeping, pooping routine. Perhaps baby no.2 won’t like that specific routine, but we’ll find one that works for our newest edition and we’ll stick with it. I believe half the reason Ava is still such a good sleeper is party because of sleep training and partly because of her routine. Even now, as a busy 2 year old, she goes down easily at night and we have no fighting at nap time, come 1pm and she will actually tell me she wants to go dudu.
  4. Sleep training is something I’ll definitely do the second time around too. The approach we used was gentle and very very effective and from the time Ava was 3 months old, she was able to self soothe and put herself to sleep for both her naps and her night time sleep. Of course baby no. 2 may not operate differently but sleep training can be moulded to suite each individual child and parent.
  5. And lastly, I’ll definitely be using Pampers Premium care for our new baby. I used these when Ava was a small baby and they were the very best. We had no leaks or accidents, no monster poo stories with poo up baby’s back, they fitted well and I loved their soft cottony feel.

I also loved the Top Tips From The Pampers 5 Star Panel:

Parenting expert, Sister Lilian shares her 5 top tips for moms wishing to provide the best of the best skin protection for baby from birth:
·        Your skin reflects what you eat, Mom and so does baby skin, from the time in the womb when he shares your meals to when you breastfeed him that special meal derived from your diet! Go slow on allergenic foods, processed products and unhealthy treats
·        Get skincare off to the best start by treating infant skin gently from Day 1, by topping and tailing rather than bathing in the first  week or two, not using too many cosmetic products and always using those tested as most natural and safe for babies
·        Help protect baby’s skin, especially if there are allergies in close family members, by breastfeeding for a prolonged time or using special substitute milks developed for those with allergy tendencies, not forgetting that skin rashes is one of the major symptoms of sensitivity to dietary intake
·        Mother Nature invented Rooibos, fresh air and sun in South Africa! Ensure that baby’s buttocks are exposed to fresh air for a while after each change and a few minutes of non-midday sun each day for glowing, healthy skin. Rooibos’ skin soothing properties are beneficial for babies of all ages – add a pot to bathwater to help relieve itching, dab on insect bites to soothe stings and place a cooled teabag on inflamed patches of buttock or other rash to aid healing
·        Do all you can to keep baby’s skin soft, smooth and dry – which is different from itchy and cracked dry! Achieve this in the nappy area (where babies are most prone to moisture and acid rashes) by choosing nappies that draw away fluid and soft poo, are made from fabric as soft as their own skin, allow skin to breathe through the fabric and fit like a second skin without disrupting movement or circulation
Paediatrician and father of two, Dr Hetan Hari shares his top 5 tips on how babies experience their worlds more intensely than adults when it comes to skin development:
·        As your baby grows and her nervous system develops, you will need to constantly find new, rewarding and challenging ways to keep her engaged
·        Encourage your baby to explore the world around them, this will allow them to experience various positive sensations, which are vital for development
·        Make sure that there is no dermatitis in the nappy area as this can be a negative sensation. Negative sensations can be distressing and distract baby from positive stimulations. To prevent nappy discomfort, these are my recommendations:
o   change nappies regularly to minimise irritant effects of urine and stools on skin
o   gentle wiping of nappy area with cotton wool/wipes when changing nappies
o   keep skin in nappy area as dry as possible
o   identify and treat nappy dermatitis as early as possible with barrier creams/pastes
o   secondary fungal infections may need special ointments to treat appropriately
·        When your baby is able to grip objects, provide a selection of textures for her to touch. Items like fluffy towels,  and bumpy toys will help develop fine motor skills
·        Encourage your baby to explores their world by crawling, touching, smelling, seeing and hearing, which brings them into contact with new sensory experiences that directly shape the way in which their brain and nervous system grow and develop
Dermatologist, Dr Pholile Mpofo shares her top 5 tips on how parents can best protect baby’s skin to meet their very specific demands:
·        It is essential to keep the baby’s skin as dry as possible as hyperhydration is a trigger for chafing and inflammation
·        Strong harsh cleansers should be avoided.  Neutral cleansers like emulsifying ointment are gentle to the skin, moisturizing the skin in addition to cleansing it
·        Well researched superabsorbent nappies are preferred as it is almost impossible for mothers to change baby’s nappies ten to twelve times per day as recommended by researchers
·        Occlusive clothing like plastic water-proof pants should be avoided to limit the possibility of retention of fluid that leads to irritating hyperhydration
·        Diapers should not be too tight and occlusive but must be the correct size and have stretchy sides to prevent chafing and to provide greater absorbing capacity
Parenting blogger on mom of two, Natasha Clark shares her top 5 parenting trends on what moms are doing to offer their babies the best of the best care:
·        Parents are becoming more aware of foods and nutrition, opting for organic and free range foods. I see kids being offered fruit at birthday parties, frozen yoghurt replacing ice cream and parents making fresh juices instead of buying concentrated ones. I see a lot of parents making their own purees and meals instead of purchasing unhealthy meals
·        Parents are more environmentally aware. They’re lathering on the sunblock, recycling, using solar power, power-saving light bulbs. I love that the kids are seeing us behave like more responsible, eco-friendly human beings
·        I see a lot of parents stepping away from television as a family. I see more board games, more DIY projects, puzzles, outings and more outdoor life amongst families. I know a lot of parents that don’t put televisions in the living room at all anymore
·        Moms love Pinterest! They use it to figure out what to cook for dinner, how to decorate the next kids party, hundreds of uses for old stubby crayons or even empty formula tins. It’s a great lifestyle resource and the mommies make a huge appearance on there. There are some awesome crafts ideas and nice things that you can do with your little ones
·        I see dads becoming SO MUCH more involved in parenting. I see dads pushing prams, scurrying off to change diapers and sterilizing bottles. I see dads bathing babies, cooking dinner and making more time for their families. We are fast losing the old household model of “Man works / woman raises children” as most moms work full time now too, I would say that men are fast catching up in the constant-parenting role, and being super great at it
Award-winning TV presenter and mom, Leanne Manas shares her top 5 tips on how she gives the best of the best care to her baby:
·        There is a little saying that goes – “mother knows best”. It’s the most amazing thing – because most of the time you know exactly what is needed for your child. Everybody is an expert when it comes to raising children but my advice is rather Trust yourself – It’s an internal instinct that exists inside you as a mother. Obviously you don’t know everything, and that’s what doctors are there for. When in doubt seek professional advice – you can never be too careful early on in your Childs life.
·        It’s very difficult to find the balance between being a working woman and the perfect mom – whether one likes to believe it or not something will always suffer. The only advice I can give is that when you are with your child give your everything. Focus entirely on them and you will find that it’s the quality of time that you spend with them that’s important rather than the quantity.
·        There must always be bonding time between you and your child. Being a mother is an absolute privilege. When your child looks at you with absolute love and trust and puts you on that pedestal – embrace it and indulge in it! Shower them with attention and give them all the love and security that they need from you – remember you are their everything!
·        You can’t be everything to everyone! Don’t forget that you are also still a living breathing human being that has needs! In and amongst the chaos look after yourself and accept help from those around you.
Don’t forget who you were before you had your baby and look after that person with some much need pampering. Never lose your identity. You need to be happy and well looked after so you can do the best for your family.
·        Right from the start, let Dad do as much as possible. Avoid the tendency to feel that you are the only one who can look after your child. Aside from breastfeeding, there is nothing that he can’t do.
Mothers need to give fathers the confidence that they can contribute as much as Mom. It’s important to start early and in the end, Dad gets to bond with Baby on his own, Baby feels that s/he can be comforted by either parent, and Mom feels less stressed!
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  • Reply tanch1

    Hi there would love to get luca in a sleeping routine! any specific book you followed? Person? he sleeps ok during the day and goes down for naps without a hassel and goes to bed at 7 fine but wakes in the night several times (he is now 6 month) can figure out what it is that is out of sink for him not to sleep well at night! he did for a while and since friday wakes at 2 and refuses to sleep unless it is with me? any advise would help please!! T

    May 7, 2012 at 11:14 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Hi T
      I used an adapted version of Baby Love ( to sleep train Ava.It worked very well and I will definitely be doing it again! All the best.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply The Needs Of New Born Baby. « Signs Of Pregnancy And Pregnancy Health.

    […] My Top 5 Parenting Tips ( […]

    May 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm
  • Reply Laura-kim Allmayer

    Maybe if we do have baby no 4 I will try sleep training – my body wants me to do it but my head just can’t – instead I whinge and whine about how tired I am!

    I do strongly believe in a routine though – we need it, they need it – we all need it!

    May 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Gwen

    I’m actually not someone who copes well with routine myself, and trying to follow a strict routine a la Gina Ford actually stressed me out terribly. An ultra-flexible version of the flexible routine concept in the Baby Sense books worked better for us.

    I’m also not a Sister Lilian fan. I read two of her books and she seems to have made half of it up and then dressed it up to be sciencey sounding – what on earth is an “allergenic” food, for example? Either you’re allergic to it (in which case you’re probably not eating it anyway) or you’re not, in which case it isn’t an allergen!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply

    I too believe in routine even now with my older children. It’s so important.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm
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